Monday, June 27, 2016

Aurasma

You would have read in one of my earlier posts that I was embarking on a Global Educators 'journey' and part of that may have been exploring new technologies in presenting some of my students' work.

It was suggested that I explore Aurasma as a tool to do this. I spent sometime reading up about it and watching videos, and honestly I was dubious, as it seemed to work really well with iPads as an editing device, and we were a PC school.

In the end I employed my favourite matra - 'Stuff it, I'm doing it'.

And I'm so glad I did.

The kids absolutely loved using it - it was a way for them to visually explain their learning, whether it be through scrolling text, themselves actually talking and verbally explaining their concepts, or with images/ video/ text.

But I jump ahead.

For those of you who are new to Aurasma this comes from Matt Hollowell's Prezi explaining it:

Augmented Reality For The Classroom. Aurasma is a free app for iOS and Android devices that uses advanced image recognition to blend the real-world with rich interactive content, such as videos and animations, called “Auras”.

So in short, it's a program where you create a 'trigger' image. It can be anything - a photo, a piece of text, and object. Then the students can create a 'layer'. This is generally a video of any type - youtube, homemade, PowerPoint movie - or it can also be a single image or audio. Once it has been all uploaded, created and published, anyone who is following your 'channel' can open up the app on their smart device, hover the screen over the trigger image, and the 'layer' content appears magically on their screen!


 I generally get my kids to create a video explaining the concept that is portrayed in the trigger image. For example, we were studying a rather 'dry' topic - the Water Cycle. I got my students to have some sort of visual representation of the water cycle - a picture they had drawn (by hand or digitally) or some text. They then needed to add a 'video layer' that EXPLAINED how the water cycle worked. Some students chose to video themselves talking it through with visual diagrams on whiteboards, other chose to make movies on PowerPoint with scrolling text and images. My personal favourite was a couple of students who love working with Lego. They made a model of the water cycle using lego, then using a stop motion app on their phones, recorded and created a stop motion animation using the lego to show how the water cycle operated. Talk about higher order thinking, STEAM, and creative thinking all in one activity!

Here is a video example of one my students created:

video



I love Aurasma for several reasons.

  • It's simple to use and easy to create. I created a class account that allows multiple people to log in and use it at the same time. Saves the students having to create personal accounts.
  • It gives students an opportunity to explain concepts more deeply. 
  • It gives students who struggle to write a chance to show off their knowledge through verbal expression.
  • It's engaging and interesting.
  • If you get parents involved, they can view their students' work at Parent Teacher Interview time. It looks specky and gives the parents an insight into their child's learning. We used it for Grandparents and Special Friends Day - the guests were blown away!
  • It was a chance to teach students about hashtags - how to use them to organise information, but also how to search information using them.
Finally, here are some screen shots of posters I have around the place, reminding students how to use Aurasmas - you are welcome to use as a template :)






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